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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Things I learned at a Learn to Curl session - and I was the teacher!

Learn to Curls are in full swing at my curling club, and I'm doing my volunteer duty by helping out at a few evening sessions.

Last night was a classic. Eight complete newbies followed my teaching buddy (Tiffany, a university student) and me out to Sheet 4. We did some warmups, split the group into two, and got to work on sliding, sweeping, rules and more. Two hours (and one scoreless end) later, we assembled around a table in the club room to do what curlers do - hang out and chat after two hours on the ice together.

These tired, somewhat sore, but enthusiastic new curlers thanked Tiffany and me for the session. It was clear they had learned a lot, but truthfully, I think I was the one who learned the most.

So here are the lessons I learned as the instructor at a Learn to Curl session:

Curling is hard

Sometimes as an experienced curler I forget that once upon a time, I was new too. And you know what? Curling is hard. The ice is slippery and it's a struggle to keep your balance while sliding or sweeping. There's a lot to think about when you get into the hack to throw. Remembering all those instructions you just learned about a minute ago... yikes! And it's pretty intimidating to do something new when people are watching you, too. Yup. Curling is hard. Take it slow and be sure to cheer everyone for trying.

Curling is fun

Oh sure, we all know this, but sometimes an impatient skip, or frustratingly tricky ice, or a sore knee, or a bad day at work (you get the idea) suck the pleasure out of it all. I guess last night's session was more of a reminder than anything. Watching these newbies laugh and celebrate every time one of them stayed upright as the rock slid all the way down past the hogline was just plain fun.

Curlers are nice people

Tiffany came to say good-bye as we sat relaxing (and, yes, drinking - some of us, at least) at the post-session table. She had to catch a bus back to her residence at the university and couldn't join us. Are you kidding? No way! One of the newbie couples insisted she stick around for a while and that they would drive her home. Nice people, curlers!

I don't know what my "students" learned - I hope they learned what a great game curling is, and how welcome they are at our club, and how much potential there is for exercising, socializing and giving back to the club and our community. That was my goal, at least, when I started last evening's session.

But I learned something too - and I have a whole new group of curling friends to thank.

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